Why does this generation ask for a sign?
They were asking for a sign from heaven – right in the midst of signs everywhere! Wherever Jesus went, wherever two or three were gathered – miracles and ‘signs’ were happening – feeding the five thousand, walking on water, healings at Gennesaret, the deaf man, the Syrophoenician woman – and they demand a sign???
I wonder if we wouldn’t hear those very same words from Jesus today? Even in the midst of our crazy environment, in the midst of daily news that can easily overwhelm us and rob us of our joy and hope – miracles are happening. We can get stuck in despair, anger, hurt – so much so – that we ‘demand’ a sign from God – from heaven rather than use our own voice, presence and gifts to ‘be a sign’ or recognize a sign.
We neglect to notice the act of kindness in our neighbor, the smile from a stranger, the outpouring of generosity to soup kitchens, clothing closets and food pantry’s; the rallying love and help that is outpoured by total strangers in times of crisis and natural disaster. We miss all the ‘pay it forward’ acts of kindness – and would rather wallow in despair, gripe and complain, point fingers and ignore all people who don’t think or look like we do.
Too often we don’t get involved, we don’t communicate with our legislators, we don’t listen to the lived reality of the other. We are content to do nothing, and then throw up our arms and demand a sign from God – we forget, that we have been called to build the Kingdom of God, we have been called to be the presence of Jesus for one another. We forget that we are called to be sign – a sign from heaven.
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.